Category Archives: homemaking

Musing on Doing Dishes


In her essay, “Trouble Man,” Dodie Bellamy states, “I’m a lousy housekeeper, and by the end of the week dishes are stacked on every available surface of my kitchen.”

Me, too. Surprisingly, even with an automatic dishwasher, the plates, cups, pots, and pans still pile up.  My problem is that the dishwasher needs to be emptied prior to loading in some fresh dirty dishes.  Maybe it’s not so much that I’m a lousy housekeeper, but that I’m a lazy one?  Emptying the dishwasher just seems like too much work.  In reality, it isn’t a lot of work when I actually do it, but my mind tends to make emptying the dishwasher seem like a huge task looming over me that will somehow disrupt my entire day.

Bellamy listens to Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack while she’s getting caught up on the week’s backlog of dried on kitchen gunk.  Sometimes I listen to music, too—my favorite dish washing CD is the soundtrack to the No Reservations movie.  But usually I listen to the soundtrack in my head.  Either a song stuck in my brain, or just my quiet ruminations on life.

There’s something soothing, almost mesmerizing about doing dishes. The mindlessly repetitive, rhythmic movements.  The warm water and fragrant bubbles.  It’s satisfying to take the kitchen from complete disarray, and return it to a clean, shiny state.  Is that why I procrastinate?  Is it less satisfying on some internal level to just do little clean-ups here and there, but never have the transformational experience that comes from a complete overhaul?

Many things I’ve written have developed after a time of quiet personal reflection—believe it or not, usually while standing at the sink up to my elbows in warm, soapy water, gently scrubbing my plates and glassware.  Standing in one place, actively involved with a mindless physical activity, seems to release something creative in my mind.

Many writers over the centuries have used the mindless activity of walking as a physical meditative process.  For me, while I thoroughly enjoy a good walk, I tend to get so caught up in the sights and sounds, people and birds, creatures and weather around me, that my mind isn’t quite as free to wander as it is when I’m staring at a corner and small window of my kitchen.  The kitchen almost works as a sensory deprivation chamber.  There isn’t much to see, or hear, or experience.  Just the warmth, the steam, the water, the suds, the rhythms of the washing.

I wonder why I delay doing the dishes when it’s such a fruitful, creative time for me?  I have no answer.

But on that note, I have dishes awaiting me.  Meditation time draws nigh.

~Debi

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The Ten Minute Tidy

the-ten-minuteby Deborah Taylor-Hough

Housework and I haven’t always been friends. It was always a bit of a struggle over the past thirty+ years of married and family life to learn the habit of keeping a neat and orderly home. Some days I was more successful at it than others, but I’m still learning and growing in this area constantly. Continue reading

12 Tips to Keep Your Summertime Organized


by Deborah Taylor-Hough
Excerpted and adapted with permission from The Original Simple Mom’s Ideas Book (Simple Pleasures Press, 2015).


7d317b55917e0dfaa9f33a4325f0d16dJust because life is a bit more relaxed during the lazy days of summer doesn’t change the fact that we still need to know where things are and keep them handy.

Here are some simple tips to keep your summertime activities and supplies running smoothly: Continue reading

How to Create an Emergency Binder

by Jodi Moore

What is an Emergency Binder?

When thinking about emergency preparedness, each family should have a disaster kit put together which includes things like first aid items, 72 hour food kits, extra outfits, etc. An emergency binder is an integral part of this kit. Continue reading

Simplifying Phone Calls

by Debi Taylor-Hough

When I was growing up, my mom always kept a list of frequently called phone numbers taped onto the telephone stand in the kitchen. That way we always had easy access to those numbers we called so often, the phone book almost opened to their page naturally. Continue reading